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Everything You Need to Know About Wednesday's GOP Debate

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And we're back! It's time for the third round of the Republican primary debates, hosted by CNBC at the University of Colorado in Boulder on Wednesday, October 28. Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and John Harwood are moderating a debate that promises—unlike the first two—to home in on the candidates' economic plans. 

The main debate begins at 8 p.m. EST. Thanks to the Donald Trump and Ben Carson campaigns' complaints about the lengthy CNN debate last month, we know this one will go no longer than two hours, counting commercials. The ten candidates averaging 3 percent or higher in CNBC-recognized national polls will participate: Trump, Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie , John Kasich, and Rand Paul. Four candidates who received at least 1 percent in the poll averages—Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Lindsey Graham—are relegated to the undercard debate beginning at 6 p.m.

Need a refresher course before the showdown begins? New Republic journalists have been covering the candidates for months. Here's our recommended reading list for the top five candidates, in order of their average poll rankings.

Donald Trump

Trump has figured out a way to peddle populism to the rich, writes Jeet Heer. According to Laura Reston, he’s using his anti-immigrant stance to reach a particular bloc: white, less-educated voters. He’s a classic pro-wrestling heel, explains Elspeth Reeve. Also, his face is fascinating. But now we're supposed to take him almost seriously?  

Ben Carson

While Trump is the Republican Party's id, Dr. Carson is its superego, explains Jamil Smith. The candidate has said some pretty crazy things about gun control and mass shootings (not to mention gravity, as Rebecca Leber pointed out). Back in 2013, Jonathan Cohn wrote about Carson's initial rise to political fame.

Marco Rubio

Is the senator from Florida the Republican Barack Obama, or its John Edwards? Brian Beutler teases it out. The New Republic's podcast Intersection examines Rubio's struggle to choose between the Republican base and the Latino vote. He's offering a paid leave plan, but Bryce Covert questions how much good it would do for families. Rebecca Leber has given him the illustrious distinction of being the most dangerous GOP candidate on climate.

Jeb Bush

The former Florida governor's height complex is real, writes Elspeth Reeve. But why does he seem so "low energy"? A linguist explains. He equivocates on climate, adds Rebecca Leber. He'd rather have a war with Iran than accept the nuclear power deal, says Brian Beutler. But back in 1989—before the W. presidency, before the Iraq War—the brothers Bush were the talk of the town. 

Carly Fiorina

Fiorina is a Trojan horse in the GOP’s war on women, writes Andrea Flynn. Brian Beutler says she's the anti-abortion movement’s biggest weapon. And as Rebecca Leber points out, she is the only candidate who has been able to throw Donald Trump off his game